Lawyers and litigants in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, have expressed frustration about their inability to file court proceedings due to a lack of new naira notes.
The News Agency of Nigeria interviewed some lawyers on Sunday and learned that the situation is affecting their legal practice in Abuja.
Mr Cleansman Ogidi of the Federal High Court in Maitama told NAN that the situation had caused most lawyers to be delayed and obstructed in filing proceedings in the courts.
Ogidi stated that he intended to file a motion on notice but was unable to do so due to a lack of funds to cover the filing fees.
According to him, “we are not finding things easy in the courts since the issue of this currency swap,” referring to not only this High Court but also other courts in the FCT.
“We don’t have the cash to process proceedings and if we want to do an online payment, the network is not easy to access.
“The point-of-sale operators do not have cash to give their customers.
“I know how much I spent fueling my vehicle to ensure that I come to court to file proceedings, but at the end of the day, I will not achieve anything.
“The situation has led to delays in most of the cases I am attending to in the court. “This is too frustrating and worrying,” he says.
Mr Joseph Udoh, one of Ogidi’s clients, stated that he lives in Gwagwalada and travels to Maitama court almost every week for a specific case.
“I have spent so much money in transportation and other logistics, I am not finding it easy because of this currency swap.
“Now I can’t get the new money to pay my lawyer, and if I don’t pay him, he might drop the case,” he explained.
Another lawyer, Mr Wilson Adodo, in Karu, FCT Magistrate’s Court, expressed frustration over his inability to pay filing fees online in order to file an application for bail.
“As long as I am unable to file the application for bail, my client will remain in prison custody,” he says.
Adodo urged the Central Bank of Nigeria and other relevant authorities to issue more new notes to the public, saying that the effort would help poor Nigerians.
Mrs Roseline Eduwah, a businesswoman in the FCT, said she lost her handset and Permanent Voters Card, and the issuing authority demanded a court affidavit.
Eduwah stated that she went to the FCT High Court in Maitama to obtain the affidavit but was unable to do so.
“This is because I did not have the new naira notes and my effort to make online payment was frustrated.
“I went to four different banks and couldn’t get any money to get the affidavit.
“Even as I am talking, I don’t have a cell phone, I have lost my PVC and don’t know how I will cast my vote without the PVC.
“I hope the situation improves so that the problem can be resolved,” she said.
Mr Aaron Ugwu, a civil servant preparing to retire, expressed dissatisfaction with the currency swap.
Ugwu stated that he spent more than six hours in First Bank looking for new notes to obtain an affidavit in court.
“I waited in line at the First Bank in Commasse House, Central Area of Abuja, just for N5000, but at the end of the day, I got nothing.”
“I cannot go back to the court for the affidavit, I needed the court affidavit to correct my name in the record in my office.
“The spelling of my middle name on my National Identity Card differs from the spelling on my office file. As I am about to retire, I needed an affidavit to correct it,” he explained.